The Parliament of New South Wales has voted in favour of a bill that would ensure a minimum payment of $250 for musicians performing at publicly-funded events.
Shadow Minister for Night Time Economy and Music, John Graham, introduced the motion to the Legislative Council on Tuesday, 23rd November, arguing that “musicians are some of the state’s lowest paid workers.”
The $250 sum was recommended by Musicians Australia. As the organisation’s website states, “In early 2021, we […] undertook research to establish what a fair minimum fee would look like. Having arrived at $250, our members overwhelmingly endorsed and approved this amount as the ‘$250 Musicians Australia Minimum Performance Fee.’”
The introduction of a $250 minimum fee is substantial progress, but it’s not exactly luxury communism. In many instances, $250 won’t be enough to cover the cost of rehearsal and travel.
Nevertheless, Graham, who is also Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House, highlighted the urgency of the bill. “When public funding goes into an event, the public expect that the musicians are paid a reasonable wage,” he said in a statement. “That is not always true.”
Musicians Australia is part of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, the main trade union and professional organisation looking after the media, entertainment, sports and arts industries. Earlier this week, MEAA director Paul Davies told Nick Galvin at the SMH that equivalent minimum wage requirements are already in effect in SA, QLD, and WA.